Free courses offered to small businesses to improve ‘survival chances’

Cllr Mark Canniford.

Cllr Mark Canniford. - Credit: Archant

Three-day courses aimed at supporting Weston and North Somerset start-ups and business’ development has been launched by North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA).

The scheme comes as part of the West of England Universal Business Support (UBS) programme funded partly through North Somerset Council and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy,

The NSEA, based on Beaufighter Road in Weston, hosts a team of business counsellors who can provide North Somerset businesses with impartial support.

Offering a range of workshops and online business resources, the courses will also feature pop-up services across the district in the council’s libraries and office buildings.

The authority’s executive for business, economy and employment, Mark Canniford trusts the benefits the course could offer for budding businesses in the area, especially when navigating the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The support on offer will provide impartial advice to those considering starting up a business and early-stage businesses as a way of improving their survival chances.

“It will also provide support to improve resilience post-Covid-19 – much of this advice would normally be a cost to business but this scheme provides the help free of charge.”

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Currently, all workshops will take place virtually due to the coronavirus.

However, three hours of guaranteed one-to-one support is offered by NSEA for each course member,

Cllr Canniford added: “Experience has shown that business survival improves when start-up support has been accessed.

“In some cases, businesses are able to achieve objectives and targets faster when they have been helped through initial development.”

Weston’s food and drink innovation centre, The Food WorksSW will also support participants.

The three-day courses will kick off on October 10 with one taking place each month until March 2021.

North Somerset Council has confirmed all residents and small to medium-sized business are eligible to apply.

For more information and to book a place on the course, log on to